ANDERSON STRETCHES PRO STOCK POINTS LEAD WITH VEGAS WIN
Needing a clutch performance to set the stage for his fourth career NHRA Pro Stock world championship, Greg Anderson delivered Sunday.
Anderson clocked a 6.698-second elapsed time at 204.70 mph to beat Bo Butner, who slowed to 15.506 seconds.
Anderson, the driver of the red Ken Black Racing (KB Racing) Summit Racing Chevrolet Camaro, leaves Las Vegas with a 40-point and 76-point lead over his teammates – Bo Butner and Jason Line with one race left in the season at Pomona, Calif., (Nov. 9-12).
“This was huge,” Anderson said. “The ultimate scenario for us at KB Racing was to eliminate the Gray team over there, Drew Skillman and Tanner Gray. I didn’t think it would happen. They have great race cars and they are great race car drivers, but somehow, we found a way and we outlasted them (Sunday) and now they are not a part of the equation. Now, there are three KB Racing cars in there and it is a dream scenario for us. Now we are just going to have to go out there and settle it amongst ourselves. A 40-point lead is obvious great, I feel great about that, but there are 30 points a round when you get to Pomona, so nothing is over yet. As great a day as we had (Sunday) and only came out 40 points ahead, it probably just means you are going to have to go to Pomona and win to be the world champion. That’s the way it should be. If you’re going to be a world champion, you should have to earn every inch of it. That’s the way it’s going to be at Pomona and hopefully we can execute like we did (Sunday).”
Anderson defeated Alan Prusiensky, Chris McGaha, Jason Line and Butner.
This was a fabulous weekend for Anderson. He qualified No. 1 and won his fourth race of the season and the 90th of his career. He is the second-most winning driver of all time in the category. Only Warren Johnson has more Pro Stock trophies (97).
Anderson has the most Pro Stock victories at The Strip in Las Vegas with eight. His most recent victory – before Sunday – came in 2010.
“We put a smile on (owner) Ken Black’s face and folks from Summit who were here (Sunday) and I can’t thank everybody enough,” Anderson said.
Anderson acknowledged his team isn’t going to change its game plan with a championship on the line for he, Butner and Line.
“We try to operate as an open book and we try to do all we can to make every car as fast as we can, that’s just are M.O. and that’s what we do. I guess we do the best we can to beat ourselves. That’s what is so unique about our race team, you can’t predict what is going to happen. That’s what makes you feel the best at the end of day when you come out on top. You want all the cars to be even and let the drivers and crew chiefs settle it.”
NHRA announced Saturday that all 24 national events in the 2018 season will have 16 cars. On Oct. 3, NHRA told Pro Stock competitors because of low car counts and low interest among other things, the sanctioning body was going to have 8-car fields, instead of 16, at nine of the 24 of the national events in the 2018 season.
The list of 2018 national events with eight-car Pro Stock fields is comprised of Houston, Topeka, Kan., Epping, N.H., Englishtown, N.J., Bristol, Tenn., Denver, Sonoma, Calif., Seattle, and Brainerd, Minn.
Now, that is not the case and it’s something Anderson addressed.
“I’ve said it many times, I don’t feel Pro Stock is broken,” Anderson said. “Yeah, we need to make changes just like everybody does. The world changes and you can’t do what you did 10 years ago, you can’t do what you did five years ago. The entire world changes. The NHRA has to evolve, Top Fuel has to evolve, everybody has to get better. Yes, we have a great fan count, but we are all struggling to get enough car count, so we have to find a way to make it better for the racers.
The sport has so much going for it, you look up in the grandstands and they are full, no other motorsport can say that. We have an ace in the hole right there, let’s not mess it up. Let’s use that to our advantage and make this sport go through the roof like they did with NASCAR years ago. It is opportunity and we can make that happen. We are going to make everything better, better for everybody. We finally got shook enough that we realized that if we didn’t do something, it could come to an end and I think we have come up with a lot of great ideas and we are all thinking and working together. This sport is going to climb. I feel really good about the plans we have got.”
Anderson admitted he and Line are old-school racers, who want to compete like it was two decades ago, but he knew change was needed.
“That’s not going to work anymore,” Anderson said. “You have to change with the times and the grandstand wants something different than it did 20 years ago. They don’t have the same beliefs that we because we have been so deep in this sport for several years and we need to appease the new young crowd that comes to the races or we will not have a sport. It’s great. We got knocked on the head and finally realize it and we are going to make some decisions, go forward and make it better. At least, we are not starting in a negative where you don’t have anybody in the grandstand like other motorsports do, they have a real problem. We got problems, and the biggest problem is the grandstand and we are doing well there, so let’s fix the rest of it, so we can be the best of the best.”